Sustainability has come a long way, from being something only practiced by the fringe left to something that customers all across the board demand when they choose where to spend their dollars. This new trend means that companies that wish to succeed must prioritize practicing corporate social responsibility to help protect our planet.
If a customer finds out that a company they used to love uses sweatshop labor or underpays their suppliers, that customer might take their business elsewhere. After all, there is an endless sea of options for consumers who are looking to spend money.
Corporate social responsibility can help the environment and also the business itself. So what exactly is corporate social responsibility and how can businesses practice it? How does it help the environment? Practicing corporate social responsibility can help sustainable businesses create a more ethical and conscious organization and can help form a holistic approach to environmental care and also people care.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is something that is changing as the global approach to sustainability changes, but a few core things remain the same. According to experts, “CSR is an evolving business practice that incorporates sustainable development into a company’s business model. It has a positive impact on social, economic and environmental factors.”
At its core, corporate social responsibility is about sticking to a high set of standards and giving back to communities. That could mean taking up cause-marketing campaigns, implementing an employee volunteer program, reaching out for feedback, or something else entirely.
According to Villanova University, “Efforts like volunteerism, environmentally friendly practices, philanthropy, and ethical hiring and employment guidelines have become key focuses for companies across the globe.”
Companies can practice corporate social responsibility by taking a holistic look at all of these issues and prioritizing setting up a high level of standards. This is the core of CSR.
How to Care For Your Employees
Corporate social responsibility is linked to both the health of the environment and the holistic health of the people who work for the organization. A business can’t thrive or even survive without good employees, so treating them well is of the utmost importance.
In fact, job seekers today specifically seek out employment opportunities that offer great health benefits, chances for internal career growth, and funding for continuing education. If companies are not offering benefits like these, chances are they will not attract top-tier talent.
Experts have noticed, “candidates seizing their newfound power to negotiate salary more often, preemptively reject companies, and turn down signed offers in lieu of better ones. This new dynamic has forced hiring teams to get creative and explore unknown territories.”
One way to practice that creativity needed to attract great employees is to use corporate social responsibility. If you treat employees in a responsible way, your company will have a better chance of recruiting savvy job candidates who value social responsibility and eco-consciousness over profit alone.
Offering competitive health insurance, prioritizing work-life balance, bringing sustainable food into the workplace, paying a livable wage, building a positive company culture, and strictly adhering to OSHA guidelines are all great places to begin.
When you care for your employees and prioritize their needs, they will deliver higher quality work back to you. People tend to work harder when they feel appreciated and valued, so your investment in your people will be worth it in the long run.
Conscious Capitalism and the Environment
Now that you have people care down, it is time to focus on the planet. Practicing conscious capitalism is a great lens to look at the environment through. You might be wondering how it is different from corporate social responsibility.
“The significant difference between conscious capitalism and CSR is that the former is a more comprehensive and holistic approach to the relationship between business and society,” according to Northeastern University. “Conscious capitalism is rooted in a company’s philosophy, whereas CSR programs are often attached to traditional business models as separate entities.”
If you can make environmental care part of the philosophy of your business, that would be a huge step forward. If your business can create good in the world and be conscious of how every decision would impact the health of the planet, it would truly be sustainable.
Working toward a zero waste office, sustainably sourcing materials, practicing responsible waste removal and clean-up methods, valuing LEED certifications, and sourcing sustainable food are just a few ways a company can help care for the environment.
If a company is already sustainably-minded, then that company can easily practice corporate social responsibility. All that needs to happen is for the sustainable ideas to turn into actions. Valuing people and valuing the planet are at the core of the philosophy, and this makes businesses that practice it all the more appealing to potential customers. Corporate social responsibility is good for your business, good for your employees, good for your community, and good for Earth.